The Del Rey Neighborhood Council approved a letter of support Tuesday, November 9th, that endorses a $300,000 grant for the Mar Vista Gardens Recreation Center Children’s Play Area Improvement Project.

The Neighborhood Council held its first meeting since its first election Saturday, October 16th, and newly elected council members approved the sending of the letter to the California Department of Recreation and Parks.

The letter, which was prepared by Mike Stafford, council communications officer, was in response to a request for council support of the project by Sally Higman, an organizer of the project.

Project organizers are submitting a $300,000 grant application for the play area, and wanted to include the letter with the application before the deadline, which was one week away.

The Children’s Play Area Improvement Project is designed to replace outdated and unsafe play equipment and ground surfaces with resilient surfacing and a ramp system at the Mar Vista Gardens Recreation Center.

The play area is heavily used by about 1,700 children who live in the Mar Vista Gardens housing development, east of Inglewood Boulevard and South of Braddock Drive, as well as many other children from the surrounding neighborhood, according to a proposed letter by the Neighborhood Council.

The Del Rey community is fully supportive of the project, which is a way to provide a safe and accessible recreation area to the children, according to the letter.

But Lillian Jenkins, Neighborhood Council Area H director, suggested a delay of a month before sending the letter to allow for review of the project.

“I’d like to know what the project is,” Jenkins said.

Other Neighborhood Council members said they could not delay the sending of the letter because of the grant application deadline.

Donald Dombrowski, a Del Rey area resident, asked the Neighborhood Council to explore the possibility of creating a park in the southern Del Rey area, which he said lacks a park for children.

“There are no parks for our children in the southern Del Rey area,” he said. “I hope the committee can look into something for our children. Anything you can do to help us out would be great.”

Dombrowski said that within the boundaries of the Marina Freeway (State Route 90), the San Diego Freeway (I-405) and Centinela Avenue, there is “nowhere for the kids to play.”

Possibilities for park locations include abandoned homes in the area, which could be turned into a play area, and empty lots, he said.

The Neighborhood Council also addressed the need for creating an annual budget within the allowed $50,000 city funding from the City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE).

Brenda Anderson, DONE area representative, said council treasurer Jerianne Neumann and a second council member will need to attend a training meeting, where documents are reviewed.

The representatives would then sign for the $50,000 in city funding, which is allocated in quarterly payments of $12,500.

Once the Neighborhood Council establishes its budget, the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment will make the final approval, she said.

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